Are you an older adult who loves to drive? Or are you worried about your own senior mom or dad driving?
Being able to get yourself around boosts not only your self-confidence but your sense of self-reliance and independence. If long car trips or simply getting in and out of the car are starting to become more difficult, think about investing in some of these helpful driving aids:
Car Transfer Aid
There are a variety of assistive devices that help simplify the process of getting in and out of the car and the good news is, they are all easy to install and use.
A car caddie, for example, is a simple loop made of canvas that goes over the top of the driver’s side door and hangs in the window area. It provides a handhold like you might find on a public bus in which to pull yourself up and out of the driver’s seat.
Other car transfer aids include items like ‘handybars’ which you can easily stow in your glove compartment and then pull out and use when you are parked. They feature a short, easy grip handle that you attach to the car door frame and hold onto for support as you climb out of the car.
Travel Mobility Aids
Finding somewhere to store your mobility aid so that it’s accessible but doesn’t get in the way while you are driving can be painstaking.
A travel walking cane, though, can quickly be folded up before you get in the car and simply placed in the seat beside you for quick access when you reach your destination.
Heading outside or on a trip? Travel walkers with wheels for the outdoors come in a variety of lightweight, foldable versions that store easily in the trunk or backseat.
It’s easier than ever to transform your walking aid into a compact, easy-to-store device when it’s a foldable walking cane or lightweight rollator walker.
Swivel Seat / Transfer Disc
Are you straining to twist and turn when you get in and out of the car? A swivel seat or transfer disc may be the answer to your back pain prayers.
These innovative tools sit on your driver’s seat like a cushion but swivel from side to side like a lazy susan, allowing you to sit and easily bring your legs into the car or vice versa.
An ergonomic seat cushion alleviates the pressure placed on your hips and spine when spending long hours in the car.
Compared to regular foam or cotton batting, memory foam and gel more effectively distribute your weight and help to support a neutral spine which takes the stress off the back, hips, buttocks and even the knees. A cut-out where your tailbone rests also helps prevent pain in your coccyx.
Avoid falling asleep on your trip and getting that dreaded travel crick in the neck! A neck pillow that features a half-moon design, supportive structure and a soft, comfortable lining is a lifesaver when you want to get some shut-eye and prevent stiff, knotted muscles in your shoulders and neck.
Do you have a handicap parking permit in your car that you hang on the rear-view mirror? Not only does driving with it obstruct your view and make your driving more dangerous, but having to put it back in the glove compartment and then dig around to find it when you need it again can be frustrating.
A visor display with a special attachment for your handicap placard makes it easy to store and then flip down to display when you park.
Driving Tips for Seniors
When it comes to staying safe on the road as an older adult, experts recommend that you:
- Avoid driving in inclement weather.
- Use routes and roads you are used to.
- Check medications for side effects that might impair driving.
- Do not drive when you are tired, stressed or sleep-deprived.
- Run errands and meet up with friends during low-traffic periods of the day.
- Always use headlights, even during the day.
- Clean rear view and side mirrors regularly.
- Limit distractions from other passengers or music.
- Consider taking a defensive driving or senior driver class.
- Get regular oil changes and tune-ups to avoid unwanted breakdowns.
Many of these tips and tools also work well for people who have recently had surgery that affects their ability to get in and out of the car with ease. If you are interested in sharpening your driving skills as a mature driver, look for programs offered by groups like AAA and AARP.
What are your biggest driving hang-ups? Do you have tips or tricks for simplifying getting in and out of the car? Please share them in the comments below.